Not only is the on-going satanic war against Christian soul-winning intensifying, it is also spreading to regions Christians would previously have considered as ‘safe’. As we pointed out in the last edition, virtually every edition of CA! in the past one and half years has carried stories of gruesome murders of Christian evangelists in Nigeria. However, those murders, involving various Church denominations, had been confined to the Sharia-endemic northern region of Nigeria.
One of the latest assaults, on Wednesday 26th.March, however was at the small town of Igangan at the Ibarapa North LGA of Oyo State, down in South-West Nigeria. There, two pastors (a male and a female) of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), who had reportedly gone to join a local ministry in rural evangelism were brutally matcheted to death in an ambush by desperate anti-proselytization forces in that spiritually dark enclave. Five others were, according to the Punch newspaper, “seriously” injured. (A brief report of the incident could be found in the April edition of the Redemption Light, the official publication of the RCCG). As has become common in recent killings of Christian evangelists in Nigeria (see last edition for instance), elements of the Nigerian Police who attempted to intervene also ended up as part of the casualty. At Igangan, one of them was killed.
Pitiable but predictable Media Response
As usual, local media houses don’t carry such news - in the name of promotion of public peace. It is difficult to determine which is worse, those who keep mum or those, attempting to straddle the fence, publish half-truths. The Punch newspaper, while giving details of persons involved (including their car number), however gave the impression that the killings were cases of “mistaken identity” and that the evangelists were taken for kidnappers! In a similar incident at Izom (Niger state) on June 28, 2006, the same Punch newspaper had become advocates for the murderers of the 20 year old Christian lady evangelist killed at the instructions of Islamic elders. At that time. the Punch had not only suggested that the young lady was a lunatic, but it carefully tucked the story into the middle pages - under its Crimes section! (See CA! Vol 9 no 4 or Punch June 29, 2006, page 6).
The frequent resort to gruesome murder of Christian evangelists speaks volumes about the desperation and despair Satan is going through, watching the steady conversion of millions from dead religious set-ups to a living relationship with the Lord Jesus every day. Such intense persecution is however a global phenomenon not restricted to Nigeria alone. It is indeed true that anywhere people are moved by the love of Christ to dutifully and boldly preach the gospel, results always abound; and the enemy is always moved to show his true murderous colour. The only concern of CA! at this time is that too many Christians still do not think that evangelism is worth the effort or trouble. If this is correct, why then would some people [moved by the Enemy] be willing to commit murder in order to discourage it? Think about it! If you are one such people inoculated with satan’s lethargic anti-evangelism potion, it’s time you woke up and be up and doing.
Following are sample stories of similar occurrences in other regions of the world, within the same period of time as the incident at Igangan
Moslem Matchet-men invade Church at Ethiopia:
On Sunday March 2, while about 200 people were worshipping God at the Kale Hiwot Church, in Nensebo Chebi village, Ethiopia, a group of Muslim radicals surrounded the Church and barricaded the doors shut. They then broke in through the windows and started hacking at the worshippers with machetes. In the attacks, 45 years old Tula Mosisa lost his life, while 17 others were brutally wounded, many with permanently severed limbs. Some thought to be dead actually revived at the hospital.
The latest development about the incident is that the mastermind of the attack, one Hussein Beriso, house speaker of the Nesenbo District council, has now been released on bail while further hearing has been postponed to April 25. Berriso, after calling for local Muslims to resist any attempts to convince them to leave Islam, had bought and distributed machetes which were used in the attack. According to International Christian Concern, 150 machetes were discovered in his house after the attacks.
Furthermore, a week later (on March 10), the religious murderers visited and burnt down the house of a local evangelist who had helped to transport eight seriously wounded Christians to a local hospital thus saving their lives. Some of these Christians later spoke with the ICC at the hospital where they were recuperating. When asked if he knew his attackers, one of them said: “Our attackers are our neighbors, with whom we ate and drank.”
From INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN CONCERN, PRAYER POINTS APRIL 11, 2008. ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. See also www.persecution.org/suffering/newsdetail.php?newscode=7454